Nanoconstruction by Pinhole Camera


Russian Academy of Sciences have developed a method of nanofabrication using an atom pinhole camera…. The technique could produce individual nanostructures down to 30 nm, a size reduction of 10,000 times compared with the original object.
“Our present experimental results show the resolution about 30 nm, but our calculations (the theoretical prediction) tell us that the resolution can be down to about 6 nm,” Victor Balykin of the Russian Academy of Sciences told

Using an atom pinhole camera to fabricate nanostructures offers several advantages compared to other nanofabrication techniques, which include optical photolithography (in which a photosensitive material is molded by light), nanolithography (in which focused particle beams mold objects), and atom optics methods that use lenses, which are limited by diffraction.

The atom pinhole camera is a novel type of lens-less atom optics technique, which uses diffraction to its advantage. While it might seem that resolution in atom pinhole camera would be limited to the diameter of the pinhole, the researchers show in an upcoming study that the image spot diameter can be three times smaller than the pinhole diameter, which is due to diffraction effects.

P.N. Melentiev et al, “Nanolithography based on an atom pinhole camera.” Nanotechnology 20 (2009) 235301 (7pp). (free for a limited time)

This is a form of additive lithography that’s competitive with the best of current (subtractive) photolithography. Note that the size of objects capable of being built is getting down into the range of optical antennas, like the nano-goldenrods in this memory formulation.

Note that the Physorg article gets the date of Feynman’s talk wrong — it was 1959.

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